The Prince George Cougars picked up their first win of their East Division road trip Saturday, upending the Saskatoon Blades 4-1 at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon.
Josh Maser scored twice, including an empty-net goal late in the third, and Johnny Hooker and Connor Bowie also scored for the Cougars. Taylor Gauthier turn in another stellar performance in goal, stopping 29 of 30 shots and was named the game’s first star.
Tristen Robins scored the lone Blades goal and Koehn MacInnes surrendered three goals on 20 shots.
After a scoreless first period, the Cougars opened the scoring on the power-play early in the middle frame. Maser scored his first of two on the night in his office- right in front the net. Ethan Browne centered the puck and Maser was there at the top of the crease to tap it in at 4:24.
Early in the third period, Gauthier made a highlight reel save to preserve the Cougars’ lead. Gauthier dove across and put his goalie stick down on the goal line to stop Jayden Wiens wrap around attempt.
Saskatoon did eventually equalize. The Blades’ Martin Fasko-Rudas forced a turnover outside the Cougars blue-line which turned into a two-on-one. Fasko-Rudas spotted Robins with a cross-ice pass and he tied it up at 5:47.
However, the Cougars grabbed the lead right back, as Hooker scored his second in as many games not even two minutes later. Vladislav Mikhalchuk dropped the puck to Hooker, who picked the corner over the goalie’s shoulder at 7:19. For Hooker it was his 10th goal of the season.
Bowie scored an insurance marker four-minutes after Hooker, as he squeezed his shot through the goalie’s pads from the left-wing at 11:21. Bowie’s ninth of the season made it 3-1 midway through the final frame.
The captain iced the game, as Maser scored into the empty-net with just 49-seconds left in regulation.
Game Notes: Maser’s two goals were his first in six games. Jack Sander extended his point streak to six games with an assist Saturday. Vladislav Mikhalchuk finished with a game-high three points, all assists. The win was the Cougars’ first in Saskatoon since February 2nd, 2016. The Cougars are now 1-0-1-1 on their road trip.
Next Up: The Cougars (11-22-3-4) continue their road trip on Tuesday, January 14th against the Winnipeg ICE; the puck drops at 7:30 CT / 5:30 PT. Fans can listen to the game on 94-3 The GOAT, or they can watch the game at Brown’s Socialhouse in Prince George, and online at http://www.whl.neulion.com/
Blades – 0/2
Three Stars: 1) Taylor Gauthier 2) Vladislav Mikhalchuk 3) Martin Fasko-Rudas.